eat it up  Recently, a client asked about intermittent fasting.  “Do you think it’s a good idea?”  My reply was “that depends.”

I’ve read some of the literature on fasting as a way to curb appetite, and of course lose weight.   I’ve also seen some conflicting programming on this topic.  There is a school of thought which believes you should eat within an hour of getting up.  Conversely, there are those which believe you should tighten your window of eating.  According to this, breakfast should be somewhere between 11am and 12pm.  Your last meal should be no later than 5pm.  While neither of these approaches represent a real fast, they may hold some promise for those struggling with weight.


I’m not convinced this is for everyone; especially if you are taking insulin or on an oral diabetic agent.  If you must take medication with food, again, I don’t think this is your option.  My own delve into this however, taught me a few things.  One insight was this:  as children we are taught to control bowel and bladder.  These are base functions; and there are many a time we put off using the washroom at the first sign of urgency.  Appetite is also a base function.  And yes, often we cannot eat when we want.  If we can though, is it possible to delay that desire?  It is, and can be a teaching tool as well as an exercise in mindful eating–as opposed to the mindless eating many of us indulge.  Controlling an appetite can be likened to controlling bowel and bladder.  Though you may not have thought about it that way (or wanted to), they are both an exercise in self-control.


Maybe.  I’m not a psychologist.  So this is purely my perspective.  From what I’ve seen there is a link.  More to the point, I believe once there is a change in consciousness, a change takes place in your life.  However, you have to start somewhere.  For those New Year New You believers, know that all the exercise gurus and personal trainers online, in person, or on DVD, will do nothing for you–until you REALLY WANT IT.  Really wanting something involves sacrifice, introspection, and cultivation.  Many of us have in some form or another, wanted to further our education. What did that involve?  Staying up late, even though you had to work the next day?  Saying “no” to a splurge, maybe even what seemed like a necessity, at the time?  Perhaps parties, bridal and baby showers passed you by.   The list could easily go on.   The introspective part of you may have questioned your decision.  Yet if you persisted and really wanted your aspirations, you cultivated–you nourished your desire.  Hopefully you saw it come to fruition.  Again, the question had to be “How bad do I want it?”  And it had to go beyond the New Year New You cliches.

So whats my take on intermittent fasting?  It’s a tool, like anything else in your weight loss toolbox.  Again if you are on medication, diabetic, or have any questions, you should check with your nurse practitioner or MD.  However, experimenting with what makes you full, keeps you fuller longer, or simply asking yourself “do I need one more bite?” are part of the introspective process.  Yes this takes time to cultivate; and involves a bit of self-sacrifice.  You are making an investment.  But just like education, once you have it, no one can take it away from you.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at















fitness model male  Chiseled cheeks, bulging pecks, core to die for.  Who doesn’t want that?  For women, a slender and small waist is what most want. Definition is on everyone’s wish list.  Many of us differ, and I would most definitely decline the newest rage; big bass.  Never desired the apple bottom–but to each her own.  Getting my sweat on at my favorite gym, I notice a few things.  Most of the trainers, male for female, really show little differential.  Not just in the way they train, but in the way they look.  Now that for me, is a problem.  It should be for you too.


How many of you, if working with a trainer, found that most of their routines focus on machines, ropes, burpees, free weights, and a litany of other torture tactics they favor?  This is fine, if you’re looking to be a reasonable facsimile of THEM.  Which in many cases, not all, means CONTRACTED.  Your forte doesn’t have to be fitness to understand. Have they ever talked about lengthening, or ECCENTRICS?  CONCENTRIC exercises shorten and strengthen; which is needed to build muscle and burn fat.  BUT ECCENTRIC exercises–those which lengthen and strengthen, is equally important.  And this goes for men as well as women, but it’s the latter who usually desire longer, leaner muscle.  Men focus on power and strength.  But how many of you really want that hunched, shoulder elevated look, when standing? If there’s no balance in your routine between eccentric & concentric exercises, that may be your future–if not your now.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

VARIETY–not just the spice of life, but essential to your routine

We all have routines we enjoy.  For some this means running, others the gym, others still yoga, Pilates, ballet, or a combo platter of the all of the above.  I’ve always loved running, but there came a time when it didn’t always love me back.  Enter in my delve into the world of Pilates, ballet inspired exercises, and ESSENTRICS.  If you’re unfamiliar with the latter, take a look-see.  Originally billed as CLASSICAL STRETCH w/Miranda Esmonde-White, these exercises do more than just lengthen out contracted muscle.  They can help you do & do more of what you enjoy.  Another tip?  BIKRAM yoga.  Bikram yoga for many, is considered the original hot yoga.  How does it differ from other types of yoga?  The room is heated to about 105 F.  The same sequence of 26 postures is repeated in every class.  While this may seem counter-intuitive to variety being the spice of life, it really is a “reset.”  A reset which like Essentrics, can enable you to continue with your favorite form of exercise.

While it is true a body in motion tends to stay in motion, it is equally worth noting this.  Repetition without re-calibration can breed contempt.  And not just your contempt for the exercise, but your body’s contempt for it as well.  This can manifest in a number of ways.  From overuse syndrome, to some muscles becoming more tense while others are underused, it all adds up the same–too much of one thing, and not enough of the other.

So if your personal trainer, favorite form of exercise, or New Year’s resolution has become battle fatigued, set it or him/her aside.  Do your homework, and rethink your training techniques.  If you’re not seeing the results you want, it may be your exercise guru doesn’t know how to get you there.  Or perhaps your routine will not yield what you long to see.  Either way, “being like,” isn’t being you.  You can be your own worst enemy or best friend.  If the latter, investigate these suggestions.  You will find your routine less routine, with energy and refinement you believed were from a bygone era.

As always, check with your nurse practitioner or MD before you make that commitment.  New Year New You is overrated.  The Old You may need some adjustments and fine tuning, but that’s what people like me enjoy doing.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need help?  Contact me at

I'm not the enemyHigh protein low carb diets are reaching epidemic proportion.  And yes, there is a reason I’m borrowing this phrase.  From sugary snacks touted as “high protein, low carb,” to ridiculous amounts of meat only consumption, it’s time to put forth a few facts.  Then, you decide.

Have to preface this with a disclaimer.

As a former dialysis nurse, I am somewhat reserved and dubious about protein intake; especially HIGH PROTEIN INTAKE. True enough, most reading this are not in renal (kidney) failure. Protein must be moderated for those suffering from renal insufficiency. However, it makes me consider the overly paraded cascade of high protein consumption.


Creatinine is a test used to diagnose renal (kidney) function. It can be increased in those who ingest large amounts of meat. Yes, it is only elevated slightly and can be transient–but my question is this. What happens if it is continually elevated, because that’s the majority of the person’s diet? Can the kidneys keep up with this demand?


Blood, Urea, Nitrogen (BUN) measures the amount of urea and nitrogen in your blood. So what’s that supposed to mean? Well, urea is the end product of PROTEIN metabolism. During a meal, protein breaks down into amino acids. In your liver, these amino acids are catabolized and free ammonia is formed. These molecules combine and form urea, which is deposited into blood, and given over to the kidneys to excrete (rid themselves of). Again, if this is 60-70% (or more) of a person’s diet, now what?

(Source: Mosby’s Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests–3rd edition)


I did preface this with my bias. Of course protein diets will help with weight loss. So will smoking. For years women swore by smoking to curb their appetite. Many still do. And while I’m really not trying to compare the two, there is an article which does.

No, I’m not a vegan, nor do I plan to become one. My palate expresses no desire for bean paste or tofu. I love my chicken, ribs, and steak. BUT, this does not represent my primary or elevated intake. Fish? Forget it for me. I hate fish. However, with the advent and subsequent takeoff of high protein diets being touted, it raises questions. Sure there are other sources of protein; never said there weren’t. But HIGH protein with mitigated or very low carb ratio, can and does have consequences. Many of them numerous, and beyond the scope of what’s discussed in this blog. Need a little more convincing? Ok.

What I’ve always taught, both patients and students is this: Be mindful not just of outcome, but of rationale (the “why” and reason behind an action) Rationale for me, must represent all of the following–cause, relationship, and effect. Yes, these diets will cause you to lose weight. Yes, that is your desired outcome. But what of the other components; relationship and effect?

You be the judge.

The above is a re-post of something I published earlier in the year.  However, I couldn’t think of a more fitting conclusion to this series.  Pulling back the curtain on the latest fad or craze, never gets old.

All for now. Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments? More info? Contact me at

meat & chopsticks    What to eat.  What not to eat.  When to eat.  You can flip through magazines, look online, and find the be all, end all way to lose weight and/or “become healthy.”  There’s a problem though.  Despite these purported best efforts, few seem to be happy with the results.  Why?  The myriads of reasons and rationales are more numerous than the scope of one post.  But I believe it comes down to this: just as we find clothing labeled “one size fits all,” is mostly nonsense, so are the catch phrase articles touting–eat this, try this, don’t eat that.  Now we know.  But the dilemma remains–what will work for you?


First, a simple question.  What does it mean to you to be conscientious?  To be absent or absent-minded?  Consider adding these adjectives to your dining (and perhaps daily) experience.  We’re all familiar with the buzz words “fresh, organic, wild, farm raised…”the list goes on.  Whether they evoke negative or positive connotations to you is of little to no consequence.  Why?  Because we all want fresh food.  We all want to eat better, live longer, and possibly drop a few pounds.  But none of these cleanses, detoxes, or change of habits mean a thing, save the latter.  A change of habit requires a CONSCIENTIOUS DECISION.  Become mindful and not absent-minded regarding how much you put in your mouth.  What does is it like to acknowledge how you feel after a few bites of food?  Are you full?  Not quite?  How much more will it take?  One more fork or spoonful?  Two more?  No more?  Have you ever considered this?  If you’re like most, myself included at one time, you don’t know.  Perhaps its time to find out.


Discovery and success are two different terms.  Few discoveries yield success after one attempt.  Becoming conscientious will not happen in one, two, or even three attempts.  Better to start somewhere–and if food is an issue, start here.  No diet regime, pill, or exercise routine can reach you, if you persist in absent-minded eating.  What are you eating?  Why are you eating?  Are you really hungry for food..or something else?  No I’m not trying to play psychoanalyst.  Yet questioning why you are doing something doesn’t require a PhD.  It just requires an answer.



Is this a decision for you?  Or someone else?  If it’s being done in the name of a lab value, response to MD orders, or pressure from a loved one, I’ve got some bad news.  And you know what that is.  Conscientious decisions come from your consciousness, not well-meaning advice.  How can you tell the difference?  Sometimes it’s not so easy.  But there’s a sure-fire way to tell.  A true change in consciousness doesn’t just yield results.  It yields a notable change in you.  It will be in the way you respond to many tempting situations–up to and including food.  No, it won’t mean you’ll never have a brownie again, or perhaps two or three.  But it will mean you’ll know when you’ve overindulged.  You won’t become unduly elated or dejected by a number on the scale.  Yet you’ll know how to bring yourself back into balance, if you’re not where you want to be.  Great you may say.  But how do I get there?  Just like anyone interested in making a new discovery–trial and error.  I’ll have more to say on that in subsequent posts.

As you can tell, I’m not interested in re-blogging the latest theoretical jargon–be it try this routine, high protein, low carb, no carb, eat this not that, nonsense.  If you want to live your life by what works for a few, and maybe not you, be my guest.  This is not to say you shouldn’t try new things.  You can only see if it’s a fit, if you try it on.

What I am saying is this:  like that coveted pair of jeans or dress you really want to work for your body, but just doesn’t, leave it.  You don’t need it.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Having trouble navigating what works for you?  We can work on that.  Contact me at



waterman  I am on a mission.  I’d like straightforward answers to questions regarding food choices, exercise, and  my biggest pet peeve–why we still consider antiquated scales a measure of legitimate progress.

Are any of these on your hit list too?  If you’re at even the remotest point in considering weight loss, they should be.  Since I’m a creature of habit (my own unique ones that is), I’ll start with the last one first.


Start it off by jumping on that old-fashioned scale.  Now I realize there has to be an objective means to your weight loss end.  As a nurse, the words “evidence based practice” are etched in my head.  But evidence can be acquired in a variety of ways.  For me, trying on a top I hadn’t worn since late May, was evidence I’d lost weight. Now mid-August, I don’t recall it feeling this loose.  Does it stretch you may ask?  Not this material.

I’ve also noticed a change in my food choices.  More on that next post.


Now you may believe I am anti-scale.  Not really.  It remains one of the most economical & objective choices to discern progress.  However, before you jump for joy or curse the ground it sits on because of a numeric value, keep this in mind:  Can your scale differentiate between body fat, water weight, or muscle?  If not, why bother?  Don’t waste your time.

Cheaper still?  Invest in a tape measure.  Take your measurements.  Better still let someone else take them.  Loss of inches often precedes loss of weight.  Still evidence based, but often encouraging and less discouraging.

By the way, how are your shoes fitting?  Feet often reflect a loss of weight before your body manifests it.  Also, if you wear a ring consistently, how is it feeling?  The truth is in the digits; and often not those glaring up at you from beneath your feet.

As stated previously, I’m not anti-scale.  Yet I do believe in the right tools for the job.  The right tool here is mandatory.  Saving yourself frustration and heartache, is worth the investment in a scale which differentiates between bone mass, water, muscle, and fat.  At minimum,  it should know what is muscle, what is water, and distinguish these from fat.  Until you can swing this, my mantra is this:  “measure your treasure, because the sole knows.”  Measure your treasure? A loose ring is a telltale sign of weight loss.  So is a declining waistline and hips.  Upper arms and thighs–not so much.  These may actually bulk, depending upon the exercises you perform, before they streamline.  The sole knows?  Again your shoes may be slipping a bit–mine did, particularly in the heel of my shoes as I lost weight.


Yes, my profession has little tolerance for all but the facts and objective data.  How that data is collected however, is an entirely different matter; for better or worse.  Nurses realize there is more than one way to get the job done.  And as a nurse and now an American College of Sports Medicine personal trainer, bringing realistic means to an objective end is not only necessary, but my purpose.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at





cropped-collage-health.jpg  If you’ve been following this blog, even on & off, you realize I’m not the most consistent writer. Recently, I’ve gone for an upgrade.  And a name change.  And a format change.  Let’s just say, a complete overhaul.

Even though I haven’t written a word in over 2 months, I’m thrilled I still garner readers.  Thank you!

Why the change?  A few reasons.  There are myriads of fitness sites.  You can find out how to procure the much coveted “thigh gap,” how to work out in less time, what to eat, what not to eat, and muddle through the low carb, no carb, nonsense.  Yes, I said nonsense.  If these are your primary topics of interest, my blog is not for you.

As a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mother, I realize FIRST HAND, there is more to health than skipping the bread sticks, starving yourself into stick figure proportions, or taking medications.  No one is saying to skip the latter.  But there is more to living, than living on a medication regime.  And while I realize most of us are finally awakening from this nightmare, there’s still work to be done.


It still amazes me how many believe workouts should fall into one of two categories–strength or cardio; and neither the two shall meet.  My clients know how I feel about this.  They also know the results they achieve, with the combo plate workouts I  design, and more than strongly suggest.


And what about diet?  Glad you asked.  But where to begin?

Give up pasta.  Give up gluten.  No sugar.  No sugar substitutes.  Eat between the hours of 11 and 2.  Eat breakfast.  Skip breakfast. Grain brain. Eat only protein. Don’t eat too much protein. CARBS are Satan incarnate.  Eat only green foods on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, don’t eat anything.  OK, I made the last one up.  Sort of.  With everyone hawking their own theories regarding nutrition, the Tower of Babel hosted less confusion.  Despite the push to lead healthier lifestyles, we as a nation still topple the scales–not only as a leader of the free world, but in overweight people.

Then what is the answer?  I wish I could box it all neatly into some nice-sounding acronym.  I can’t.  Hence the change in format and title.  For me, personal training is too narrow a category and places too many restraints on subject matter I wish to bring to light.  Life training–while it may sound catch phrasy, better encompasses the mission of this blog.

There’s more to life than counting calories, carbs, determining your mood by a number on a scale, and trying the latest workout craze.  There has to be change.  A change in habit?  Perhaps.  But no habit for better or worse becomes set, without a change in your mind.  Better yet, a change in consciousness.  As my grandmother used to say “Now you’re cookin” with steam.”

And so it all begins.

healthy living waterfall   I realize everyone trains differently.  We all have our pet peeves, favorite, least favorite, and everything in between exercises.  However, I’ve noticed this one in particular, seems to be fast becoming the holy grail.


Unless you’ve read little to nothing regarding fitness, planks are now hailed as the all-inclusive, all-powerful tool to tone, tighten, and trim.  Ok.  Let’s look at this.

Better yet, let’s put it to the test.  I did.  But more on that in a moment. True enough, planking forces major muscle groups to engage; especially your abs.  Side planking, raising one arm, raising one leg, etc., takes it to a new level.

But hold on a minute.  What’s the effect of all of those planks on your elbows?  Your toes?  Sure you can hold a plank with your arms in push up position.  Still the toes are asked to do quite a bit.

Visualize or recall the last time you saw a human skeleton.  Pull up a picture, better yet, go see one.  Notice the direction in which your elbow moves.  More to the point–look at the size of it.  Yes, muscle and tissue encapsulate it.  But if planking on your elbows is a mainstay, you may want to re-think the number of times/minutes you spend doing this.  Working your way down to the feet, look at the bones.  Like the elbow, muscle and tissue surround them.  Again, notice the size and direction they move–or NOT.  Get the idea?

Now for my findings.  I discovered hot yoga a few years ago.  Let me differentiate here, between hot yoga and BIKRAM yoga.  The latter does not depend upon planking as a cornerstone.  Really they are non-existent.  The former depending upon the teacher, can consist of more planking than actual yoga.

Yoga is far from the only entity that overuses the plank.  See how long it takes before the trainer of your choice, starts with the holy grail all-inclusive.

As you can tell, I’m not the biggest fan.

As I stated earlier, some yoga teachers pride themselves on the number of planks they place in their practice.  Why?  A plank has its place; and for me it should be relegated to pirate prisoners walking them.  Ok they are a transition move–but let’s keep it to just that, a transition.  A mainstay that should go away–perhaps not.  But my wobbly elbows would beg to differ.  I noticed this while doing a similar exercise, just how weak they were at times.  Do I attribute this to the overuse of planks or some variation?  You better believe I do.  I’ve all but given them up; swapping them out for other exercises.  By the way, my toes are overwhelmingly thanking me as well.

Have my abs become flabby, my arms lost tone, or the host of other ills that should befall an ex-planker?  Hardly.  I’ve developed my own solutions for my body, and what it needs.

Does your trainer know how to do this?  Better yet, do you?

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at



snowman  I’ve often wondered, what induces others to make change?  Change is rarely easy.  And when it comes to asking your body to do with less, while it does more–now you’re talking task, trial, and temptation.  Hmm..wonder if there’s a storyline there?  Perhaps another day.  For now, the question is “ARE YOU READY?”

There are many ways to assess readiness.  However this model for me, strikes a chord.  Why?  Possibly because the categories, don’t tell the whole story.  They may even be  a bit misleading.  So why would I like something like that?  You’ll see.


As I stated above, names and particularly categories, can be misleading.  Consider this.  Self-help books and  theories abound regarding how to change your mind, change your life.  How many of them have really worked for you?  For me, it hasn’t been many.  When I first saw this “stages of change” model, my first thought was “here we go again.”  A little less psycho-babble and lot more change please.  But if you look carefully, that’s exactly what this, well, exacts.


Precontemplation:  This describes someone who doesn’t exercise, and isn’t interested in it either.  Now for me, contemplation means you are at least thinking about the subject.  Yet, this clearly states “pre.”  So I guess in a roundabout way, it fits.

Contemplation:  Someone at this point is thinking about changing a behavior.  Ok.  You’ve arrived at the point of wanting something better for yourself.  Still, it’s a conversation that’s taking place in your head.

Preparation:  At least here, you are doing something.  It may not meet the established guidelines/criteria set forth by the exercise community, but you’re somewhat engaged.  Preparation means getting ready, so at least you are “ready,” haven’t gotten to “set” yet, and “go” is still in the distance.

Action:  Action refers to someone who exercises meeting established criteria–but the catch is this:  it has been less than 6 months.  This is probably the most vulnerable stage of change.  Why?  After all, you are working out.  True enough, but will it continue?  Can it continue with the intensity needed to bring your goal to fruition?  Here is where many fall short and drop off, or unfortunately, drop out.

Maintenance:  Here, you are meeting your established criteria (that may differ from one person to the next) AND it has been going on for at least 6 months.  Maintenance may mean you’ve attained your fitness goals, but not necessarily.  Really, attaining and maintaining are two different things.  While you don’t want to regain the lbs you’ve worked so hard to lose, with possibly more to go, what exactly is going to keep you from doing just that?  Maintenance requires planning; not just good intentions and lip service of “I’ll never go back to that again.”

So where are you in all of this?  Take an in-depth look at these categories.  And while they are just that, categories–where are you?

If you’ve ever thought about it or wanted it, you are still in contemplation.  It’s still a head game,  What will it take to make it an end game? 

If you’ve fallen off the “action” wagon, what will it take for you to get back on?

Are you maintaining the even strain?  How?  More to the point, for how long?

There are questions which a model of change poses.  Answers?  Well it gives few.  Definitions it details.  But really, the only question which requires a definitive answer is this.  Are you ready yet?

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.


fitness center   Home workouts.  The GYM.  Running on the treadmill, running outside.  Barre workouts, yoga, hot yoga, BIKRAM yoga.  PILATES.  Which is right for you?  For most of us, it’s a combo plate, and not the a la carte menu.  However, even if you work out exclusively at a health club, are you getting the most out of it?

Here is one of my client’s experiences.

In years past, spring for me meant the same thing.  Attempting to make it back to my post summer weight, post winter.  Basically, getting back to where I was the prior October.  Since I teach for a living this allows me more time to work out and run over the summer.

However, one thing has worked in my favor this time; the advice of Crystal. I was able to continue working out through the school year with a program she set up, and didn’t lose what I gained during the summer of ’14

Sure, I put on a few pounds over the Holiday Season back in December but have already got back to where I was in October. Crystal showed me three machines that I had never used before at my gym and they have paid off.  Assisted chin up and dip press, torso rotation and a crunch machine that concentrated on my abs, instead of allowing me to pull the weight up with my legs. When I showed her the machine I was using for crunches, she immediately noticed my legs doing the work.

The effect of these machines are noticeable, people at work ask me if I’m still losing weight (I’m not). Now I get on them all the time when I go workout. I have been doing strength training M, W, F and cardio T, R. I do work what I call the “Ab Circuit” (torso, crunch, legs lifts) everyday. Strength training consists of bench press, row machine, leg machines, and lat pull-down. Cardio usually consists of treadmill and cross trainer. On Crystal’s recommendation, I find I get better results on the treadmill if I don’t aim for one long run. After the first mile, I prefer to run the second/third mile in spurts, as if I’m doing a type of HIIT. I’ll run at a fast pace for as long as I can, then come down for minute at a comfortable pace. I’ll do that for a mile or two.

I can’t wait to get back on the trails and run. It’s been a long cold winter and I’m not one to run outside before work. Too dark and hitting a patch of ice is not one of my favorite past times.  We did have a warm morning a week ago, so I did run outside. My guess was right, for a first run outside I know the gym work paid off.  I had no problem running at all…as well, if not better than last fall.

Although he speaks almost exclusively about running and health club workouts, this client is one of my “combo plate” devotees.  He has invested in a mini-trampoline, which gives his knees a much-needed break. He takes BIKRAM yoga classes.  I have also taught him some PILATES moves, with and without elastic bands.

What have his results been?  While I believe the above speaks for itself, this also translates into a 38 pound weight loss.  Yes, he’s hit rough patches.  Yes, he gained a few pounds back, and LOST THEM again.

My point is this:  what can a combo plate of exercises do for you?  If you are seeing slow results, or worse, no results–this may be your answer.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Like what you’ve read?  Interested in your own “combo plate?”

Contact me at